DANVILLE — Memorial Day is a time to remember all those who have served and given their lives to keep this country free. Unlike some holidays, the real reason behind it is not forgotten; certainly not in Danville.
“Memorial Day means showing respect for our veterans,” said Larry Miller, who was attending the Memorial Day parade and services in Danville on Monday.
“It’s to honor our people who served in the wars and for all they did for us,” Ed Buckland explained.
“It’s a memorial for the ones who served and died for our country and kept us free,” was Frank Keener’s response as to why he was there.
Although Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, it is also a time to celebrate the life and freedoms so hard won by those being remembered.
The celebration started with the traditional Memorial Day parade, which proceeded down Market Street to Memorial Park. It featured the usual bands, fire trucks and veterans, all supported by local residents, who lined Market Street the whole length of the parade.
After the parade, the community gathered in Memorial Park at the Veterans Walk of Honor for the Memorial Day ceremonies. Richard “Buck” Laughrey of the American Legion opened the ceremony, welcoming those in attendance and thanking the veterans for their sacrifices and struggles to preserve the country’s freedom. Lee Cubie gave the invocation, after which Laughery introduced the guest speaker, Air Force veteran Regina E. Quinn.
Quinn spoke about the meaning of patriotism.
“Patriotism. Let’s think about that word for a few minutes,” she said. “If I were to ask you if you felt patriotic, what would you say? When did you first start to feel excited? As you saw the flag pass by in the parade, or heard the national anthem played or sung? What would be your answer?”
She said most people probably got their first taste of patriotism in grade school.
“We first became aware of those feelings when we recited the Pledge of Allegiance or sang the national anthem,” Quinn said. “Remember fighting over whose turn it was to lead the pledge, or who would hold the flag during the pledge?”
She said that without patriotism, Americans would not have heroes to honor on Memorial Day.
“Oliver Wendell Holmes called this our most sacred holiday,” she said. “He urged we not ponder the sad thoughts of the passing of our heroes but, rather, ponder their legacy.”
After Quinn’s speech, Lisa Blaisdell presented flowers to Gold Star Mother Judy Goare.
The program ended with the Danville High School Marching Band playing “Taps,” and local representatives of the branches of the armed services fired off a gun salute.